Food For Thought

"Labor unions would have us believe that they transfer income from rich capitalists to poor workers. In fact, they mostly transfer income from the large number of non-union workers to a small number of relatively well-off union workers." - Robert E. Anderson

Friday, February 25, 2011

What I Don't Get Is...

The debates in Wisconsin are, of course, the topic du jour. During this, WTMJ talk host Charlie Sykes has, several times, had a popular segment entitled "What I Don't Get Is..." I'm constantly amazed at the callers who express surprise (not necessarily outrage, but surprise nonetheless) at the protests, the reaction of the Unions, the 14 AWOL Senators, and the rest of the circus in Madison and across the state. Since I don't get a chance to call in and since Charlie's program is so popular that I can't get through, I'll answer that question here.

What I don't get is why they don't get it.

The plain truth is that the reactions of the protestors, the Unions and the far left did not have spring up overnight. They have evolved over the last decade or more. It is the manifestation of the mantra of "symbolism over substance". In a word, it is hypocrisy.

Now let's be fair - there are hypocrits of every stripe. But the modern Democratic Party has made this a core principle. I say "modern" to distinguish this from the party of Kennedy (who, fiscally and on defense, was more Republican than Regan) and Roosevelt (who said what he was going to do, then did it -- like Scott Walker). And this has been evolving for more than a decade.

Take the Political Correctness movement of the 90's beyond. In specific, "free speech" versus "hate speech". Recently, that maven of the media Oprah called for "respect" for President Obama, saying, “even if you’re not in support of his policies, there needs to be a certain level of respect.” And yet, it was perfectly acceptable for Oprah, The View, Jon Stewart and others to not criticize, but engage in ad hominem attacks on President Bush. Remember when it was "patriotic to speak out against your government"? Ah, but not when its our guy.

And staying with public figures, let's talk about our Flee-Baggers. During the Doyle administration, with a Democratic-controlled state House and Senate, the Republicans drew repeated fire for their use of the filibuster. Last night, the House Democrats acted outraged when a procedural motion was used to end over 80 hours of a Democratic filibuster (far longer than any that has ever been staged before). Let me not hesitate to point out that a filibuster requires that the politicians in question actually are on the job, not hiding out like fugitives in a sympathetic neighboring state.

And then there are the protestors themselves. The Union Line is that of Helen Lovejoy, screaming, "Won't someone think of the children!?!?" They try to tie the modest increase (5.6% for pension and 12.8% for healthcare) to a collapse of the educational system when, in point of fact, those increases are less than private sector workers pay for those benefits. When this is pointed out, they cite the "anti-Union" portions, stating that its taking away workers "rights and freedoms". And yet, that conveniently ignores the fact that this bill gives back freedoms -- the freedom to choose if one wants to pay $1000 per year in Union dues and be forced to accept whatever health care plan the Union wants (one that is, ironically enough, owned by the Union). So, drawing the line from point A to point B, this isn't about the finances of their members and it isn't about the freedoms and rights of their members, its about Union dues, Union-administered and owned health funds and Union power.

And the "rights" that are "stripped" (a favorite word of the pablum-fed media)? Turns out that "unions still could represent workers in wage negotiations, but they can’t seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless the hikes are approved in a public referendum". So this isn't about "rights", this is about the Union not wanting to "chance" the public turning down such a referendum. It's about Union power.

The protesters themselves are on the forefront of hypocrisy. Their leader, President Obama, recently called for "a more civil and honest public discourse" in the wake of the Arizona shootings. And yet the protesters, the vanguard of the "political correctness" movement, are making direct "hate speech" attacks on Governor Walker -- even so far as to putting "crosshairs" over his picture and calling for "reloading". Scant weeks before, these people were screaming about Sarah Palin's "crosshairs". Shame, shame if it's Palin, but huzzah if its the left!

Then there's the blogger (not journalist) Ian Murphy who scammed (not pranked, that word is too 'lighthearted' for his misrepresentation) his way onto a phone call with the Governor. In a recent interview by a real journalist, Murphy, a virulent shock-blogger, admitted that he is not a journalist. He's akin to the guy who breaks the jewelry-store window and then the passerby (the responsible journalists) who would never do it themselves, happily take the stolen goods.

Yet the same people who are holding this self-described "troublemaker" as a paragon of investigative reporting are the same ones who cry "foul" at conservative (and degreed) journalists like Fox News, Drudge and Breitbart. They constantly harp on how "biased and slanted" those legitimate news outlets are while at the same time espousing people like Murphy (who ranted "F*** THE TROOPS" in one of his virulent blogs) as the standard of virtue.

Additionally, there's the selective short-term memory of the protesters, bloggers and leftists when it comes to "responsibility". They love to blame Republican administrations for all the world's ills, but are mysteriously silent about the fact that it was a Democratic Governor, State House and Senate that used short-term budget "fixes" and Federal monies to paper over the serious fiscal situation while simultaneously passing larger and larger budget deficits to future administrations.

So now we're faced with the reality of a massive budget shortfall. And some of the people who swept Walker and others into office under the banner of "fixing the fiscal mess" are committing the largest hypocrisy of them all -- fix it, but don't take away MY perks!

As I said at the beginning, none of this is new. It's been brewing for a long time. You could see it in the lawsuits of the 2000 Presidential election versus the so-called "mandate" of the 2008 Presidential election. What is new is the blatant way in which it is shown in public. The left has taken off the mask of principle and sincerity in the last decade and now they are the ones asking "What I don't get is..." when the hard-working private sector no longer buys into their hollow rhetoric. They are left wondering why they are, despite doing all the things that people have "bought" for a decade, now being laughed at, vilified by the majority, and no longer in power.

What I don't get is... why they don't get it.

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